An understandably gutted Israel Folau has issued a parting jab at Rugby Australia shortly after his official axing from the Wallabies.
The 30-year-old had his $4 million contract scrapped on Friday as part of the fallout from his most recent anti-gay Instagram post.
"It has been a privilege and honour to represent Australia and my home state of New South Wales, playing the game I love," he said.
"I am deeply saddened by today's decision to terminate my employment and I am considering my options.
"As Australians, we are born with certain rights, including the right to freedom of religion and the right to freedom of expression. The Christian faith has always been a part of my life and I believe it is my duty as a Christian to share God's word. Upholding my religious beliefs should not prevent my ability to work or play for my club and country."
Folau concluded by thanking his wife Maria and anyone who had spoken out in his defence during the previous month.
He later posted an image to Instagram — his first since the now infamous post which got him banned — captioned with a Bible quote from Matthew 6:33: "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you."
Wallabies prop Sekope Kepu and Waratahs hooker Tolu Latu added comments in support of the axed fullback.
Latu commented "amen", while Kepu simply added a series of emojis including a love heart.
Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle announced the termination of the fullback's employment on Friday after the controversial star's "high level" contract breach.
"Mr Folau knew when he pressed that button there were the implications that post was going to have," Castle said at Rugby Australia headquarters on Friday afternoon.
"His actions left us with no choice but to come to today's outcome."
Castle praised Folau's ability as a rugby player and admitted the "outcome is a painful situation for the game".
Folau is expected to escalate the situation and launch a legal case against his former employer.
"Ultimately Mr Folau will make his decisions and we'll deal that when and if that happens," Castle said, concluding the case "will change the landscape for sport in Australia and possibly across the world".
Rugby Australia confirmed Folau was paid up until May before being axed at the Friday press conference. He now has 72 hours to appeal the decision.
Meanwhile, outspoken radio host and former Wallabies coach Alan Jones went for the jugular on Friday, insisting Rugby Australia will "fall on its sword" in the fallout from the Folau case.
The 78-year-old tore into the organisation live on 2GB this afternoon, saying it wasn't a surprise the decision to sack Folau was made.
"There's no surprise here ... you're dealing with incompetent people ... and incompetent people always behave incompetently," he said.
"They've destroyed his employment and internationally destroyed his name for quoting a passage from the bible for God's sake.
"He hasn't slaughtered anyone, he hasn't insulted anyone and he hasn't even tried to push this stuff down anyone's throat."
Jones has been a regular participant in the Folau storm, defending the 30-year-old's right to express his views on social media without fear of being sacked.
"The issues of freedom of speech and to express one's religious views must win out and Rugby Australia must show leadership and common sense to celebrate these cornerstones of Australian society," Jones wrote in a column for The Australianahead of Castle's announcement. "While Rugby Australia operates in denial of these freedoms, the situation gets more costly and damaging to individuals and the game.
"If, as a nation, we want freedom of speech, then the corollary is that people will be offended."